Joel Stein’s column in the LA Times has received a lot of link love from around the Interweb. That’s no surprise, anyone from the media willing to take a shot at the all-inclusive world of two-way conversation and cross-linking will always raise the ire of theÂ blogerati.Â But I like his piece.
Regardless of theÂ motivation for Stein’s article, his central message is an interesting one.Â It challenges the commonly held view of many in the online community that everything must be interactive and linkable.Â The belief that this web page you’re reading is going to sweep away everything else.
The complexity of human natureÂ means that diversity is a reality.Â I’m technically sophisticated, I understand the benefits of the online world, but I still enjoy reading – without the need for instant gratification via a comment link.Â I sometimes enjoy lying in a vegatative state in front of the television without the need to participate in a poll.Â I walk my dog without the need to subscribe to its RSS feed.Â Of course sometimes I do want to get interactive and the ever developling online world has given me the opportunity to do that as the need arises.Â But I don’t have to do it just because it’s there.
There’s no question that the onlineÂ environment in general, and blogs in particularÂ provideÂ real value.Â Just look atÂ something like Dan Santow’s relatively new blog.Â But the misconception that one online model fits all is ridiculous.Â The idea that we all want to comment on everything we read, that we want to spend our days in interactive discussion is simplistic. We have lives… well most of us do.
The reality is that sometimes we just want to read opinions, sometimes we’ll want to jump in and sometimes we won’t be bothered.Â The world is a crazy mixed up place – and it’s great because of that.Â The online world and the media world are similarly diverse – that’s what’s make them interesting.
The blogeratti should spend more time analysing their own ivory tower rather thanÂ constantly flinging arrows at the peasants outside.
Don’t get me wrong.Â There’s amazing value online. Just let’s not make the mistake that one size fits all.Â Experience teaches us that that approach normally doesn’t work for the majority.
So enjoy Joel’s rant, it’s a welcome hiatus.